Monday, February 25, 2008

Tricks of My Trade Feb 2008 - Naked On Stage

No, it's not what you think... Not exactly...
A few years ago I was watching an episode of Fear Factor. I had never really been a fan, but there was nothing else on that night and so I tuned in while I did some work on the laptop. The first challenge immediately got my attention. The contestants were going to face one of the top 3 fears people have - public nudity! To do this, they would participate in a naked fashion show! That's right, all 6 contestants had to strip naked, and walk the catwalk in front of an audience of about 350 people, all with cameras flashing. They had to walk the cat walk and pause at the end and pose for 1 minute, naked, and turn and walk back up the walkway. Guess what? They all did it. Further, it was so dramatic a challenge that not one contestant was eleiminated in the following rounds. They each had become invincible. It would be the final challenge - a time relay challenge - that would ultimately decide the winner.

This episode got me thinking about the invincibility that the contestants felt after an excruitiating few moments of vulnerability, and what it means for a stage performer. I began to notice certain things about great entertainers. They were all willing to be vulnerable in front of their audiences, to expose themselves - to be naked on stage.

I'm not talking about literal nudity on stage. I'm talking about the willingness to show your vulnerability in order to gain invincibility.

A recent example is that of Hillary Clinton. She had her naked moment when she cried on stage, in front of a rally of supporters. You'll also notice that after that, her numbers soared. She for a time became invincible.

So, how can we as performers and entertainers exploit this principle? We'll explore that next month...

Big Daddy Cool stars in Larger Than Life!

Nashville - In October 2007 in front of a sold out audience at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville "Big Daddy Cool" John B. Pyka announced to the world that "Tonight marks my return!" On March 28th he will follow through with that promise with the debut of a brand new theatrical stage production called Larger Than Life.

Larger Than Life stars "Big Daddy Cool & The Kittens" and is the theatrical fusion of magic, music, and theater - and so much more. "Most people recognize the character of Big Daddy Cool as the star of the magic musical Swingin' At The Roxy" says Pyka, "but this production goes far beyond the zoot suited swing magic I've become known for." While Larger Than Life does include what Pyka calls "classic BDC," it also includes pop music and cutting edge contemporary magic, magical interpretations of classic Broadway songs, and a few other treats and surprises for longtime fans. As is John's style, all of the magic will be accompanied by soaring vocal music and high energy dance. It will be a complete Las Vegas styled variety review for a grown-up audience but with something everyone will love.

Joining John onstage are his magical assistant Krista Chilton, and The Kittens: Michele Timbres, Jessica Ottow, and Candice Byrd. Rounding out the troupe is long-time collaborator Patricia Lefler, who will perform and serve as choreographer. In 2000 Patricia and John collaborated to create the hit magic musical Swingin' At The Roxy, but it has been over five years since the pair have worked together. "Patricia was one of the key ingredients to making Roxy a smash hit" says Pyka. "Having her as a part of this new production is a true thrill!"

Larger Than Life debuts at the Center For The Arts in Murfreesboro March 28th at 7PM. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the Center's box office at 615-904-ARTS. For more information about John B. Pyka, visit